Monday 8 April 2013

Wader ringing weekend Pt5: Interview with David Sapsford.

It was good to see in the group a number of younger people involved in bird ringing. There seems to me to be a shifting of the demography of birders, as I get older so do all the other birders and I don't often see much evidence of younger folk getting involved. For this reason it was heartwarming to see these younger people rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck-in for the sake of the birds.

In particular there was one young man, David, who is determined to be a fully fledged ringer one day here is a short interview that we conducted with him:

David Sapsford, the youngest member of the weekend
group holding a Dunlin.

WQ: How long have you been ringing?
DS: I’ve been ringing since I was 11 but I’ve been handling birds since I was 7.
WQ: How did you get into ringing?
DS: Well, my dad does a lot of it, he used to have a job on the Calf of Man as the warden doing bird ringing; when I was old enough he took me down to Rye Meads and I got to hold the birds to release them.
WQ: Do you have a favourite bird that you like to handle?
DS: Yes, I like Kingfishers because they’ll lie in your hand as long as they can.
WQ: They don’t fly off then?
DS: They won’t fly off unless they have reason to, they’ll just lie there for many minutes.
WQ: So what do you think of The Wash and being out here in the cold, ringing waders?
DS: It’s really good when we get the catch, but waiting for the catch it’s very cold.
WQ: OK, do you have an unfavourite bird to handle?
DS: Oystercatchers!
WQ: And why is that?
DDS: They make a mess everywhere! It’s my least favourite bird.
WQ: Are they aggressive?
DS: They can be.
WQ: Have you ever done any ringing with gulls?
DS: I haven’t ringed them, I've processed them, we once got about 75 Curlews and 15 gulls, mixed Common and Black-headed.
WQ: Gulls are quite aggressive aren’t they, hard to handle?
DS: I don’t really know I just put them in a plastic tube to weigh them! But we did catch a Mediterranean Gull which is quite rare!
WQ: So do you intend to continue ringing?
DS: Yes. I’d like to get my A permit and a mist netting licence, I’d like to get a cannon netting licence too.
WQ: Are you particularly interested in waders or all birds.
DS: All birds in general really apart from Oystercatchers!

David at work.
WQ: What about your future studies, what are you planning to do, or is it too early to say really?
DS: I want to go into biology, probably marine biology because I’m fascinated by all animals, perhaps marine biology or ornithology, something along those lines.
WQ: So it’s the natural world rather than just birds that interest you?
DS: Yes natural history and nature itself is very interesting.
WQ: If you had the opportunity to change things, what would you change?
DS: I don’t like poaching and hunting of endangered species. This really shouldn’t be happening.
WQ: What about all the conservation issues such as habitat loss and so on, is that something that concerns you?
DS: I think we should be doing more to conserve endangered species because one day, if we don’t help them, they’re just not going to be there!
WQ: Thanks for your time, it’s been lovely meeting you, perhaps we’ll meet again sometime when you’re a great marine biologist.
David ringing a Dunlin.

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